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March 22, 2021

Perfectionism Is Procrastination

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We can probably agree that perfectionism isn’t known to be a good thing. It has a stigma attached to it, and necessarily so because it holds so many people back from taking action in important ways. That’s where I want to go a step further and argue that the idea of perfectionism is actually a form of procrastination.

To quickly touch on procrastination, procrastination is a defense mechanism that protects you from discomfort. The discomfort of doing something you don’t want to do, and the energy required to do it, or something you don’t know how to do, and the doubt you feel about your capabilities.

Perfectionism does exactly that - It keeps you from taking action until you feel completely prepared to do so. But the thing is, when you’re completely prepared you have confidence in yourself and don’t need to overcome the same amount of discomfort. So perfectionism is a rationalization strategy that  keeps you from taking action while you're experiencing discomfort. 

Of course, what needs to be mentioned is there is a certain level of quality that needs to coincide with your taking action in order to do it right. But I firmly believe that being 80% there and taking action today is way more effective than being 100% there 2 months from now, because it allows you to optimize through feedback, and there’s no guarantee you’re ever going to reach 100%.

To finish, I think perfectionism is a form of procrastination, and if you think so too you can be better about rejecting the idea that things need to be perfect.

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